I’ve finally caught up with myself enough to write a post. The lead-up to Christmas was incredibly hectic at work, only to then drive 400 miles to visit my sister and the rest of my family. Along some wonderful gifts and memorable moments, I also got a cold and a stomach bug for Christmas, so returned home just as exhausted as when I left, and I have been trying to catch up ever since.
While at my sister’s, I read Lisa Manterfield’s I’m Taking My Eggs and Going Home: How One Woman Dared to Say No to Motherhood (one of the gift’s I received). Reflecting on her experience emboldened me to describe why My Man and I decided to not adopt as part of a larger discussion with my brother-in-law’s family. I was very matter-of-fact about the whole thing, and got some interested questions. I mean–what the heck? I had just patiently and cheerfully listened to an hour-long discussion on child-rearing. I also think that some people close to us are wondering about our decision, but are too polite to ask. Regardless, it felt good. Our experience is just as valid and legitimate as those with children, and I felt proud that I took myself seriously enough to risk including our angle.
An early January hike with My Man and Elroy
The first time IT happened I chalked it up as an unfortunate anomaly. IT happened at work, and involved a man who knows me really well, but who I do not turn to for any real emotional support (we don’t have that kind of relationship). But, this time was different. I was with a group of female friends who had gotten together for some serious bonding time. We were comparing notes…I commented on how nice it was to have my college-aged niece stay with me over Thanksgiving break. Later, the friend in this group with whom I am the closest, who I will call Madge, started relaying a slight she received at work. After Madge described how she was hurt, she went on to disparage the offending colleague by exclaiming that this woman has no children, and therefore she has NOTHING. She then punctuated the point by sneering about how this colleague works with her nephew (huh?). I was dumbfounded to say the least. Both the man at my work and Madge know I tried unsuccessfully to have kids. I don’t believe that either person meant to be malicious, but to say that a person has NOTHING if they don’t have kids as a way to disparage someone in conversation is insensitive at the very least. I am still incredulous and am still trying to wrap my head around this new way to insult someone behind their back (and, unwittingly to my face). I am also still wishing I could have regained my composure quick enough to have quipped with a meaningful and pointed response. What are your thoughts? What would you have done or said?